US cutting forces, missile batteries in Middle East
Islam News – The Pentagon said Friday it was cutting the number of troops and air defense units deployed to the Middle East, confirming a Wall Street Journal report that eight Patriot batteries were being moved out from the region.
The move comes as President Joe Biden’s administration seeks to ease tensions with Iran after they heated up in 2019 and saw a strong escalation in the US military presence across the region.
The Wall Street Journal said the Patriot anti-missile batteries were being removed from Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, and that a separate anti-missile system, called THAAD, was being transferred from Saudi Arabia as well.
Pentagon spokesperson Commander Jessica McNulty said that some of the units were being redeployed to other countries and some were returning to the United States for maintenance.
She would not say where the redeployed units were being moved to.
“This decision was made in close coordination with host nations and with a clear eye on preserving our ability to meet our security commitments,” she said in an email.
The US military is rapidly adjusting its global footprint as it pulls out of Afghanistan entirely and sees a greater threat from China in the Asia-Pacific region.
The Pentagon also slashed its troop presence in Iraq last year to 2,500, supporting Iraqi forces in their fight against the Islamic State group.
“The Defense Department maintains tens of thousands of forces in the Middle East, representing some of our most advanced air power and maritime capabilities, in support of US national interests and our regional partnerships,” McNulty said.
Source: France 24